NOAA, World Bank Join to Help Manage Water and Coastal Resources in Latin America

Projects Could Also Be Launched in Other Countries

February 28, 2008

NOAA, World Bank agreement signing.
Dr. William J. Brennan, NOAA’s deputy assistant secretary for international affairs, and Katherine Sierra, World Bank vice president of sustainable development.

+ High Resolution (Credit: NOAA)

NOAA and the World Bank today announced that they have signed an agreement to work together to help developing nations manage water resources, combat drought, and measure changes in climate.

Future projects are expected to take place initially in the Latin American region, notably in Argentina, Colombia, Mexico, and Peru, while other projects could be launched in other parts of the world.

The scope and scale of many coastal problems require international alliances and solutions. This new partnership will allow NOAA scientists and resource managers and the World Bank to more readily assist global communities in building resilience to climate extremes. Specifically, the assistance can help establish end-to-end early warning systems, enhance and protect local ecosystems, and realize the benefits of an integrated earth observing system.

“This initiative enables us to marry financial resources and technical resources – bringing them together for sustainable development,” said Dr. William J. Brennan, NOAA’s deputy assistant secretary for international affairs. “This helps us realize our mutual goals to decrease suffering from natural disasters and bolster economies while sustaining our environment. Together these efforts seek to improve livelihoods and reduce global poverty.”

“We have always believed that good development is based on solid partnerships,” said Katherine Sierra, World Bank vice president of sustainable development. “Today’s agreement allows us to work more easily with an important partner in development and to bring the complementary strengths of our two organizations together for this common cause.”

The new Memorandum of Understanding will serve as an umbrella for future projects like the one NOAA’s National Weather Service is discussing with the city of Medellin, Colombia, to install a reliable flash flood guidance system.

Other projects under discussion include:

  1. establishing high altitude mountain climate surface observing stations in Peru, Bolivia, and Ecuador.
  2. developing water resources and drought management projects in Argentina, Colombia, Mexico, and Peru.
  3. expanding marine environment ecosystem observations in the Caribbean to see how climate change affects small pelagic fish.
  4. using extreme climate adaptation expertise to adjust climate models to smaller scales.

This MOU has been developed to reflect NOAA’s variety of technical expertise and to realize the societal benefits of the Global Earth Observation System of Systems (GEOSS), particularly in the Americas. It also recognizes NOAA’s leadership in earth observation and prediction systems to support sustainable development globally. The agreement also builds on the leadership of the World Bank to strengthen countries’ economies and institutions as a global leader in development assistance.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, an agency of the U.S. Commerce Department, is dedicated to enhancing economic security and national safety through the prediction and research of weather and climate-related events and information service delivery for transportation, and by providing environmental stewardship of our nation's coastal and marine resources. Through the emerging Global Earth Observation System of Systems (GEOSS), NOAA is working with its federal partners, more than 70 countries and the European Commission to develop a global monitoring network that is as integrated as the planet it observes, predicts and protects.

The World Bank Group is a multilateral development institution and one of the world’s largest sources of financial and technical assistance to developing countries around the world. Comprised of 185 member governments, its primary focus is on helping the World’s poorest people and the poorest countries. The World Bank Group uses its financial resources, its staff and extensive experience to help developing countries reduce poverty, increase economic growth and improve their quality of life.